Gov. Lee Dong-geol of said Korea Development Bank (KDB) will extend more loans to startups and SMEs whose main functions relate to the technologies in the 4th Industrial Revolution, in a switch from its traditional loan policy providing most of its loans to big corporations.
In a meeting with reporters at the “KDB Next Round 100th Memorial” events at Yeouido Grand Hotel Nov. 6, Lee said the role of KDB should also adapt following the changes in the economic paradigm with the arrival of the 4th Industrial Revolution.
The changes in KDB’s loan policy doesn’t mean that all large corporation would not get KDB loans. The bank will still provide loans to big businesses trying to do their part amidst the 4th Industrial Revolution, he said, adding that the companies that don’t change would not be able to survive.
He also said Kumho Tire, going through structural reform, may be able to get a new KDB loan if the company can reform in line with the 4th Industrial Revolution.
The tire maker should not hang on to the car tire production business only, but adapt and innovate technologically to qualify for new KDB loans, for example, by producing sensors to control the wear and tear of tires.
With regard to STX Shipbuilding, he said KDB has been waiting for a government decision on the shipyard’s structural reform, adding that KDB will weight various factors before announcing its future moves on the survival of the shipyard.
To help startups prepare for the future, Korea Development Bank has been running the “KDB Next Round” program that helps link companies with new investors.
First launched in August last year, KDB’s Next Round was introduced to minimize market friction and promote market expansion in order to further develop startup investments in the wake of the “fourth industrial revolution.”
KDB’s platform does not involve a funding model or direct investment in ventures. It also does not involve contributions to a capital fund that invests in ventures. Instead, Next Round is an investment inducement platform through which the KBD facilitates investment attraction among startups and venture capitalists via investor relations networking opportunities, the company said. The bank established a startup investor relations center on the first floor of its Seoul headquarters, where causal meetups for startups and venture participants are held Wednesdays and Fridays at 3 p.m.
Since its launch through the beginning of this year, the company has held 25 investor relations networking sessions with 97 participating companies, leading to a total of 43.6 billion ($38.2 million) won of investments in 22 startups.
This year, KDB plans to hold a total of 75 networking rounds with 300 participating startups and expects to attract venture capital investments of up to 100 billion won. KDB also plans to invest 15 billion won of its own capital in next round of its program.
South Korean venture capital firm InterVest Co. and Indonesian partner Kejora Ventures have closed the first round of funding for their new Southeast Asian fund, securing more than half of the fund’s targeted $100 million. Korea Venture Investment Corp., a trust backed by Korea Development Bank and other investors put $60 million into the InterVest Star Southeast Asia Growth Fund I, according to InterVest.
Seoul-based InterVest was one of the first South Korean venture firms to turn its attention to Southeast Asia, home to 620 million people, where growth is accelerating. The region’s internet economy is poised to reach $200 billion by 2025 amid surging adoption of smartphones, according to a report by Google and Temasek Holdings Pte.